In A Mixed School


Stars of Gold

"Pole…" Eustace tried to catch her attention.

"Scrubb." She never looked away from the teacher. "How many times do I have to say that I'm sorry?" She still refused to make eye contact.

"Don't bother. Unless you can prove that you really didn't mean what she thinks she saw, she is not going to believe you." Fern provided chirpily, a little louder than expected. Eustace's eyes widened. "Fern, what the ruddy hell do you think you're doing?" He hissed. "We're in class!" Fern shrugged. "The teacher is practically deaf, Scrubb. I doubt he's going to – "

"Will the both of you just keep quiet?" Jill hissed, rather unexpectedly. "Pole," The teacher, Mr. Barton, said. "Fern and Scrubb," He glared at them. "Talking, in my class? I expected more from you, especially you, Fern. You're one of the most well-behaved students in the school." He sighed. "I suppose I could let you off this time, Fern. Pole, Scrubb, detention. Two days."

Fern grinned mischievously. Eustace and Jill, however, grimaced, and Jill even banged her head on the table. Several students looked at them sympathetically. "Well, Scrubb, look at it this way. You'll get a chance to make up with Pole, now, won't you?" Eustace, in a reasonably irritable mood, replied, "Oh, go jump in a lake, Fern. You wouldn't know the difference between a chance and an act to save oneself from death by boredom."

Fern wasn't quite as annoyed as you might think. Though not a girly girl herself, she enjoyed getting people together. No one, especially someone like her, could resist the challenge of getting Eustace and Jill together. And thanks to Mr. Barton, it might actually happen – or at least come one step closer to happening. Nothing could dampen her spirits!

"Nice job, Alyson," said a voice into her ear.

Well, nothing except that.

She scowled, but plastered a polite smile over it immediately. "Why, thank you, David," she replied smoothly. "Though I would love to stick around and chat with you and your dear ladies-in-waiting," She gestured towards his two lackeys, Edward Francis and Daniel Scarlet. They were too stupid to notice anything, but David – Harrington, by the way – was surprised that the girl was brave enough to insult the two biggest boys in the school. "I have to carry a much more intelligent conversation with a friend of mine. Good day," And with that, she spun on her heel and left in the direction of Harriet Reese, the much smarter twin sister of Harry Reese.

"That girl amazes me," David muttered to himself. Edward and Daniel blinked dumbly. "Huh?"




"Pole? Come on. Talk to me."




"You're evil, you know?"


"Yeah, well, maybe I ought to explain the reason I was with Rose Jackson."


"See, she was crying behind the gym the other day, so when I found her, I put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong. She told me she was worried about her crush not liking her and things you girls worry about way too much, if you ask me," Jill snorted indignantly, but refused to speak to Eustace.

"So I reassured her after finding out who her crush was. Guess what? She's pining for your little brother, Pole."


"Phil had told me of his own crush on Jackson himself, so I could say for sure that he liked her, too. And then I gave her advice on how to, um, catch him, you could say – I say, Pole, you're smiling!"

"I am not!"

"Aha! I've gotten you to speak to me again, Pole!"

"What?! I – oh, never mind."

"Does everything make sense now, Pole?"

"Yeah, but why would you know how to catch my little brother?"

"I used my own experience as a guide. A girl I know very well caught me in love's tangle, and I don't think I'm getting out of that tangle any time soon." He smiled at her brightly. "C'mon, then, Pole. Detention's almost over. I'm sure the teacher won't notice anything, judging by the way he's snoring." Eustace pretended to smash a mallet over the sleeping teacher's head, and Jill giggled softly. Everything was right once again in Eustace-and-Jill land.


It wasn't, however, in Fern-and-Harrington land.

"Ooh, I just hate him!" Fern said angrily as she punched a large pillow. Jill, propping her head up with her hand as she lay on her bed, raised an eyebrow at her. "Who?"

"That – that – that – " She struggled to find a word to describe her least favourite person. "Imbecile?" Jill suggested. "Thanks. Yes, that imbecile, David Harrington!" Jill shrugged. "I rather think he likes you," She said, watching Fern pace in front of her bed angrily. "WHAT? Are you stark raving mad?" Jill's eye twitched, slightly annoyed. "I think I'd know if I was," She said dryly. Fern ignored her. "Harrington just hates me for some reason. That arrogant, egoistical little insect!"

"At least he's not a spy for Them."

"He's just as good as one!"

"People can change, Fern. Look at Scrubb. He used to be the nastiest boy in school, apart from Them; but look at him now. He's still got his temper, goodness knows, and sometimes he's a bit of a smug know-it-all, but all in all he's much better than back then."

"Yeah, Pole, but that's different!"

"Different how?"


"That's what I thought. When you're ready to take my advice on how to deal with this presumably 'new' Harrington, you tell me, alright?"

"…Okay, Pole."

There was a silence. Then…



"How can Harrington have changed? He's still just as nasty as he's always been." Jill thought about it. "Well, maybe you have to make him change. If you're nice enough, he might feel guilty about it and change. It helps that you can be rather charming when you want, too."


"Yeah. Boys are simple-minded creatures. With the right motivation, they'd do anything for you."

"Speaking from experience, Pole? No doubt you've tried it on Scrubb." Fern said, not able to resist the opportunity to tease her roommate. "It was completely accidental!" Jill defended. "Anyway, we're talking about you here. Don't change the subject." She yawned. "Well, I'm going to dress you up tomorrow. It's a Sunday, so there's no need to wear the school uniform. I'll get Scrubb to find Harrington for us so we don't spend the entire day just looking for him."

"And how is Scrubb supposed to find him if we can't?"

"Scrubb's got…connections within the school. If he can't find Harrington, no one can." Fern smiled. "Thanks, Pole." Jill winked at her. "Anything for a friend."

Heh. Couldn't resist giving Fern a nice antagonist. David Harrington is somewhat oxymoronic, going around with two lackeys like a bully, but thinks that Fern's an interestingly amazing girl. Review, thanks.